“Triple Elvis (Ferus Type),” one of Andy Warhol’s most famous portraits, can now be yours for just a few million dollars. Along with Warhol’s classic silkscreen of Marlon Brando, entitled “Four Marlons,” the King of Rock and Roll is now headed to Christie’s Rockefeller Center auction house. The monumental pieces have never appeared at an auction before, and will go up for bid on November 12th. They are expected to bring in a combined total of around $130 million.
Both are being sold by a German casino company called WestSpiel, which has featured them in one of their casinos in Aachen since the late 1970s. At the time, the company paid around $85,000 for the Presley and about $100,000 for the Brando. “We have thought about this long and hard and believe now is the time to sell,” said WestSpiel director Lothar Dunkel. “Given the current strength of the market, especially for works by Andy Warhol, it is now the right moment to part from these works.”
Warhol’s classic Elvis portrait is nearly 7 feet tall and nearly 6 feet wide. He created it in 1963 using printer’s ink and aluminum paint. “Triple Elvis (Ferus Type)” depicts the rock & roll heartthrob as a cowboy, armed and shooting from the hip. The original image was taken from a publicity shot for Elvis’ 1960 movie Flaming Star. The portrait of the star is repeated three times across the canvas. Brett Gorvy, who is the head of post-war and contemporary art for Christie’s, said Warhol used repetition “both as a way of creating a narrative and a way of really commenting on society.” Gorvy observed that the repetition in “Triple Elvis” also succeeded in animating the piece, adding, “You have that sense of cinematic motion of the gun shooting while ultimately, it’s a static image.”
“Triple Elvis (Ferus Type)” was one of 22 images Warhol produced of Elvis. It is likely the King will go for a sizable amount, based on other Warhol works recently auctioned. In 2012, his “Double Elvis (Ferus Type)” sold for $37 million at Sotheby’s. Just last year, his “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)” sold at Sotheby’s for $105.4 million, setting a record for Warhol.